Day 78

16. July 2000, Terrassa to Clermont Ferrand

Back in France after 75 days! After a short drive along the French Mediterranean we soon go into mountains again, the Massif Central. But it is not some narrow curvy mountain road we are taking this time but mostly a well-built motorway, some of the way even dual carriageway. The French countryside, although beautiful always seems to come up with very similar landscapes and similar villages, so we are not surprised anymore that France turns out to be such a nice nation state (with exceptions to that rule, of course). Arriving in Clermont-Ferrand thirsty, I find myself hesitating about the idea of drinking tap water - all this bad influence from all these low-infrastructure countries - but I drink it and find it to be delicious.

TC 288: Terrassa OUT
TC 289: Clermont Ferrand IN
30 620.60 km

Overall 2 hour 03 minutes penalty

The official results can be looked up on this website

In France we start driving on small roads through small villages again, although this road does actually lead into a motorway eventually. This village, by the way, is the capital of the mild onion - so it is not only Americans who know how to market their goods.

Britons David and Mary in their blue Aston-Martin

It is a great picnic and everyone is enjoying it, after an hour we have to move on again.

The Massif Central

The French have built an impressive motorway on this route and they continue their work on new bridges. They also had their Bastille Day this Friday. Today being Sunday, it is the end of a long weekend of holidaying, relaxing, swimming, sunbathing and ... cycling.

The Puy de Dôme, near Clermont-Ferrand. At 1465 metres, it is the highest mountain in this area. Pascal made his famous pressure measurements with a glass tube and mercury at the foot and at the top of the Puy. The mercury columns had different heights. What did he prove? The existence of air pressure and that air did actually have weight. Before it was believed that if air did have weight, all the air above a person would necessarily crush that person.



Our first puncture ever! On day 78! And where are we driving today? Clermont-Ferrand - headquarters of Michelin tires. But its Sunday and we can't buy anything. For now we have the spare tire.

Some of the rally participants have organized a picnic lunch at Lac du Salagou.

Driving into the Massif Central

chateau here...

... and chateau there